The Ferryman

by Jez Butterworth

The Ferryman is a wonderful family drama set in a farmhouse in 1981 in Armagh, Northern Ireland during the Troubles (specifically the Hunger Strikes) full of comedy, tension, mystery, gangsters, magical stories and a poetic, lyrical feel.

Most of the action takes place leading up to and after the gathering of the harvest and has a wonderful Irish, large family vibe – telling stories of the past and present but leading inexorably to a tragic ending.

It has 21 characters and a baby, almost all from the same family! We are also hoping for live rabbits and a goose!

Ages range from 7 to mid-80s, including 10 x under-18s (though we could cast some of the older boys up to early 20s).

See the back of the script for critics’ headlines - especially:

“A mighty affair, sending stories, characters, history, politics and love skittering across the floor with the flair of a gambler rolling the dice. It’s a stunning piece of writing, teeming with life, haunted by death…. Butterworth takes the great family drama and makes it his own”

“A serious, seriously good, grown-up play….. something special"

Application pdf

Auditioning on the 20th of July 2021?

Click here to download a copy of our guide to this production.

Quinn Carney

40s, central character, head of the household. Married to Mary (though you might spend the first 20 mins thinking he’s married to Caitlin!). Ex-IRA, now a farmer.

Mary Carney

40s - his wife, and mother to 7. Quiet, spends a great deal of time upstairs with mysterious ‘virus’ brooding on Caitlin’s place in their home.

Caitlin Carney

late 30s/early40s - wife/widow of Quinn’s missing brother, Seamus. When Seamus went missing 10 years ago, Caitlin and her son Oisin moved in with Quinn and Mary. Quinn and Caitlin are very close but not lovers. The action starts with the news that Seamus was murdered by the IRA and his body has just been found in a bog ‘across the border’. This has enormous repercussions throughout the play.

Aunt Patricia Carney

70s/80s - Quinn’s aunt - strong Republican - hates Thatcher - battle-axe - great part!

Aunt Maggie Faraway

70s/80s - Patricia and Pat’s sister - sits in a wheelchair in the corner almost throughout - lives in a dream world ‘far away’, and only occasionally speaks lucidly - but the family get very excited when they get a rare ‘visit’ from her. When she does speak, it is with poetry, fables and stories from her youth. Several very long speeches.

Uncle Patrick Carney

60s/70s - jocular, big drinker, very funny commentator on the action. Far less political and everyone’s favourite (great-) uncle.

James Joseph/‘JJ’

Quinn and Mary's son - 16 - next in line to the farm.

Michael

Quinn and Mary's son - 15 - mouthy - important role.

Shena

Quinn and Mary's daughter - 14 - huge help round the house and with baby - wants to marry Adam Ant.

Nuala (Nunu)

Quinn and Mary's daughter - 11 - has some very funny lines

Mercy

Quinn and Mary's daughter – 9 - has some very funny lines

Honor

Quinn and Mary's daughter - 7 (dresses as Cleopatra). Has some very funny lines

Bobby

Quinn and Mary's youngest child - a nine-month-old baby

Oisin Carney

14 - Caitlin and Seamus’ son. A bit of an outsider with a chip on his shoulder - not quite ‘in’ with the other boys.

Father Horrigan

A weak priest, manipulated by the IRA to blackmail Quinn

Muldoon

The local IRA leader - quietly spoken, menacing, deadly gangster.

Frank Magennis

With Lawrence Malone - Muldoon’s heavies - they open the play but rarely speak again. An ominous presence.

Lawrence Malone

With Frank Magennis they are - Muldoon’s heavies - they open the play but rarely speak again. An ominous presence.

Shane Corcoran

17 - firebrand - thinks of himself as a pocket ’soldier’ for The Cause already. One of the Corcoran Cousins - three fun loving and mischievous brothers, cousins of the Carneys, who come to help bring in the harvest in the second half, and trigger key events. Very important, energetic roles.

Diarmaid Corcoran

16 - the more sensible/intelligent one. One of the Corcoran Cousins - three fun loving and mischievous brothers, cousins of the Carneys, who come to help bring in the harvest in the second half, and trigger key events. Very important, energetic roles.

Declan Corcoran

14 - impressionable -wants to be like the older boys. One of the Corcoran Cousins - three fun loving and mischievous brothers, cousins of the Carneys, who come to help bring in the harvest in the second half, and trigger key events. Very important, energetic roles.

Tom Kettle

30s-50s - an Englishman who helps around the farm. A big, slow, man with a key role in the play. Good with animals. ‘Unhurried’ in demeanour (ie likely on the spectrum). Loved by the kids but not Aunt Pat who doesn’t understand why they are harbouring an Englishman. Rural English accent (eg west country).

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Director - Mark Humble